The current issue of Newsweek is dedicated to "150 Women Who Shake the World.' The usual suspects are on the list -- Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel. Then there are several entertainers noted for their charity works -- Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Shakira, Meryl Streep.
There is one name noticeably absent -- Sarah Palin.
Agree or disagree with Palin's views, she is certainly a force in our national dialogue. The mere title of the piece warrants Palin's inclusion on the list. She can't open her mouth without the entire world "shaking." Everything she says or does is closely watched and reported by the media ad nauseam. If she is not earth-shaking, who is?
Palin deserved to be on the list more than many of the women who did make it.
Dara Torres? The best Newsweek could come up with in her tiny blurb was "wins Olympic gold again and again." How does that shake the world?
Gabrielle Giffords? Her story is tragic and everyone wishes her a fully and speedy recovery, but with all due respect and not to be insensitive, she was just an anonymous Congresswoman before being shot. What did she really do to shake the world? The same could be said for CBS News reporter Lara Logan, who likely would not have made the list had she not been beaten in Egypt.
Amy Chua? Newsweek points out that she is "an expert on globalization and ethnic strife," but really, she would not be on the list if she didn't write that "Tiger Mom" book that shook the world for about a minute and was quickly forgotten.
Palin has far more impact on the world than these and dozens of other women on the list. Why was she not on it?
The answer could be a simple one -- controversial editor Tina Brown. The troubled Newsweek (it was sold last year for $1 -- plus $47 million of its debt) recently joined forces with Brown's The Daily Beast. This is the first Newsweek issue with Brown as editor-in-chief. Brown has been critical of Palin in the past.
When she resigned as Alaska governor in 2009, Brown wrote on The Daily Beast:
Perhaps it’s time to stop analyzing Sarah Palin as a politician. Maybe, in her own muddled way, she is at last owning up to the fact that she has been miscast. You don’t need politics anymore once you’ve discovered that the alchemy of celebrity has turned you into a 24-carat phenomenon.
According to the conservative Web site Newsbusters, in April 2010 Brown said the following about Palin on MSNBC:
"I mean, I feel that when Sarah Palin is really talking to these tea party movements, she's not really talking to them as members of true believers in a political movement. She's talking to them as consumers. I mean, this is her market, her audience. It's not really about politics for her. It's really about celebrity. It's pretending to be politics. That's how I read Sarah Palin. I think she's created a new kind of celebrity."
So it is clear that Brown is no fan of Palin's, and perhaps this is why she was left off of the list. But Newsweek is supposed to be an unbiased news magazine, not a forum for Tina Brown's opinions. If this is the way Brown will be running things from now on, a once-proud magazine has dark days ahead.